following letters are about our cover letter of 18 May 2003.
You can read it here.
Nice work! Hard to believe you can do this much though not paid
for it. Please keep it up.
can't refrain from saying 2=1 only if we have made the wrong
assumption that a=b whereas we all know that they are very different.
Yes we all make mistakes and that is why we should watch out
for one another to help remove the speck (a=b) and careful to
let others point out the log. (Well, Jesus said the 2 shall be
1 — and we believe.)
St Paul's Anglican Church, Nyanya, Abuja
mathematical "proof" that 2 = 1 reminds me of much of the rhetoric
that has torn at the Anglican Communion from right and left over
the past three decades or so. Dividing by zero is, in fact, a
wonderful metaphor for the sort of invalid logical arguments
that we all hear and read virtually every day.
you for providing a forum for the voiceless ones in the silent
of Anglican moderates. Let us hope that the quality of these
contributions transcends the unhappy divisions that beset us.
Georgetown, Texas, USA
• Please publish the number of responses (like this one) which explain
that the "proof" in the May 18 sidebar is mathematically invalid because
the last step involves dividing by zero. Perhaps you could rate them on a
scale of 1 to 10 from hilarious to vitriolic. The irony is that much of what
passes for serious study in the modern church is fraught with moves that
are analogous to dividing by zero.
Vestal, New York, USA
20 people wrote to comment on, correct, or analyze our proof. Since
we were not writing for a mathematics journal,
we were using the proof just as a metaphoric example. We
thought about using another favourite proof of ours, whose logical
to spot: all horses are the same colour.
If you enjoy these, take a look at the University of Toronto
Mathematics department list of 'Classic
• I appreciate the tone of your cover piece: in encourages humility
and respect. However, it has an implication that may be unintended, but to
which I would like to respond. Using the mathematical 'proof' as an example,
the piece encourages the reader to use his or her experience as the test
against which assertions must be measured. While I agree this is an important
step, it is not sufficient. If the result of a 'proof' does not correspond
to experience, then there must be a reason: either the 'proof' is defective,
or the experience is incomplete or misinterpreted. Your piece implies that,
when confronted with such a situation, experience should trump the 'proof.'
would urge the thoughtful person to continue to wrestle with
the subject, search for the defect in the proof, and seek to
broaden experience until the source of the conflict is found.
In the mathematical “proof” provided, all is well until the final
step, when division by 0 occurs. Since division by 0 is not defined,
the 'proof' is defective at this point and thus fails: 2 does
not equal 1 after all.
believe many discussions would generate more light and less heat
if the participants would search for the defects in the arguments,
and seek to broaden their experience, rather than simply trump
the argument based on their (perhaps) limited experience.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
• Thank you for your discussion of epistemology. The algebraic proof
you provided is a brilliant reminder that we are not all we think we are,
and it's very sly to use mathematics to demonstrate this!
traditional sources of ethical inquiry—Scripture, tradition,
and reason, joined in some discussions by experience—are
none of them adequate without the others. When the discussion
turns to such volatile subjects as sexuality, we further encounter
the limits of reasoned inquiry at the frontiers of emotion.
my experience, people feel so strongly about these issues that
no amount of persuasion, from any of these sources, can change
minds, much less hearts. What helps people to overcome prejudice
is the opportunity to rub elbows with real people from 'the other
side', whichever side that is. This seems to me to be tied directly
to the gift of the Incarnation. In our heads, our reasoning may
be clear, our logic flawless—but when we encounter the
Other as a flesh-and-blood human, whose experience differs from
ours, our hearts can be changed. We can't grasp everything about
a person, a place, or a thing through this kind of incarnational
encounter, but we can gain a sense of them that will quickly
shatter our reasoned theories about them. As current folk wisdom
would have it, 'reality beats up on theory'. The Benedictine
ideal of encountering Christ in the stranger—or our baptismal
promise to 'seek and serve Christ in all persons'—reinforces
this sense that knowing someone 'in person', rather than theorizing
about what sort of person they might be—is a holy endeavor.
Berkeley, California, USA
dear friend of AO, Barbara Wolf, died a few weeks ago; here is
an obituary. The
following two emails give you a glimpse of her heart and her
Anglicans Online, As the Rector of S. Mary's, Falmouth, Maine
for the past twelve years I was privileged to know Barbara Wolf
well. Thank you so much for recognizing her and for sharing her
obituary and writings with your readers.
and I had an interesting symbiotic relationship; one that recognized
as her priest and pastor, and yet one that also acknowledged
her as 'Mamawolf' for me as well. I always appreciated her
insights on life in the church generally, and at S. Mary's in
Two particular conversations have come to the fore in my memory
since she died. Barbara wrote the Parish Profile that
led to my coming to S. Mary's. In the inevitable section, 'What
we look for in a priest', she concluded by quoting
a survey. 'We desire a priest who has a sense of one's self
as a flawed and fumbling yet beloved and purposeful child of
I read that description my thought was, 'I'm your man'. Barbara
later confided in me that she was the source of the quote. 'The
point of that statement', she said, 'is not that we wanted a
priest who was a beloved and purposeful child of God, because
are. But most don't see themselves as flawed and fumbling. We
wanted someone who was willing to be flawed and fumbling'.
one of my flawed and fumbling times I was trying to make a decision
about getting divorced. I was trying to discern God's will for
my life. I consulted Barbara who listened very compassionately
and then said, 'Deary, you're working too hard. Sometimes God
just gives us choices and gives us the gift of being okay with
God either way'. IMHO both statements reflect Barbara's compassion,
wisdom, and sense of humor.
Barbara. Rest in Peace.
Reverend Thomas Luck
Falmouth, Maine, USA
and Barbara Wolf were stars in the church sky when I began work
with the Canadian Church's Department of Religious Education
in 1958, charged with the task of introducing to the Church the
dynamics of small groups in Education and management. Along came Journey
in Faith, an innovation which put all our assumptions about
learning to work. It was a beacon of light in a time of renewal;
part of a movement which glittered with Episcopalian stardust
emanating from Seabury House and later the Episcopal Church headquarters
on Second Avenue in New York; which raised the laity up from
silence to shared thought, from obedience to significance; a
time when unrealized talents began to shine through participation
in small groups everywhere.
Wolfs were magic names as we laboured week after week instituting
the small group experience in conference centres across Canada
in the 1960s.
St John's Cathedral, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Matlock, Manitoba, Canada
and droll': We like that!
sober but droll summaries of the news alone are often worth the
price all by themselves. Oh, that's right, there is no price—you
do this as a ministry, patiently informing us, week after week,
year after year.
hesitate even to suggest adding to your workload, but have
you thought about a Sermons section, where clergyfolk can submit
their favorite orations for possible posting to share with
up the marvelous work; we're all in your debt.
Houston, Texas, USA
planned such a section for some time; we're hope to launch
it sometime in the next few months. [The News Centre editor reports
that he drinks
only Apollinaris water while editing. Very sober.]
per view: Another take
week we published a letter complaining about access fees
being imposed by some English papers.
the Advertisement Manager for Church Times and trying to make
a living for a few staff who operate the paper and online version
of the paper I find it interesting that letters to your site
should bemoan the charging for internet access. Apart from a
few altruistic individuals that run sites like AO how do people
really believe that commercial organisation like The Times, The
Independent and indeed Church Times are supposed to fund their
any chat room be God-pleasing? Hmm.
Editors of AO, It
has been a pleasure to have known about this webpage. Being an
Anglican, like many other Christians it is comforting to read
about how other fellow Anglicans are doing in other parts of
the world. I always look forward to read the front page of the
AO website every Monday (due to time difference) and enjoyed
articles. I do hope to see a forum page or something where Christians
can post their opinions and voice out provided that it is done
in a proper and God-pleasing manner. Thank you. Regards from
St Andrew's Cathedral
Reverend Robert Board
would like for your readers to hear of the passing of one of
the 'quiet' leaders of the Episcopal Church and a wonderful pastor. The
Reverend Robert C. Board of Louisville, Kentucky USA died there
on Sunday May. 19. Fr Board was 95 years old and until his retirement
in 1975, spent his entire ministry as Rector of St. Lukes Church
and St. James Church near Louisville. He was a graduate of General
Seminary in New York City. Fr Board devoted his entire life
to the church, and his parish. Though never married, Fr Board
leaves a large Louisville 'family' that mourns his passing, and
celebrates a long life well lived.
S. Hamilton III
St. Martin in the Fields
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
AO, Thanks for your wonderful ministry. I read you avidly every
week, and it keeps me in touch with the Anglican Communion rather
than just the good old C of E!
good news: I and friends have recently been to hear Rowan Williams
at Salisbury Cathedral
give a series of lectures on Church History. The Cathedral
was packed, with lots of young people, and he held us spellbound
for an hour. He was lucid, stimulating, humble, and courteous.
was wonderful to eavesdrop on people as they left, and hear how
he had encouraged them to explore their faith and tradition.
We were deeply thankful; to God for enriching us with the ministry
of this wise and godly man. As a Benedictine Oblate,
also impressed and enriched by his sermon at the conference
Spirituality 'Shaping Holy Lives' at Trinity Wall Street
on 29th. April 2003. If only we could listen to each other,
teaches, we could be enriched by each other's path to God.
Gerry Reilly, retired
Crewkerne, Somerset, UK
checks and screening
news item 17 May 2003: Australian clergy face police checks.
The Age (Melbourne) reports that the Archbishop of Melbourne,
Peter Watson, has asked all clergy and certain categories of
church workers in the archdiocese to promptly submit to police
character checks to confirm their suitability for church work.
it not standard practice in most dioceses to require postulants
to submit to police and social service / child protection checks?
I certainly hope so! (Police checks are insufficient in my
experience, and the checks must be done in the places the person
has lived.) Do not bishops require some screening of those
who transfer in? To not do so would suggest liability I think
(and have seen) to not have taken proper care in appointing.
One would think this would be standard, particularly after
the school abuse situations in several countries, and the relatively
(sadly) frequent news of persons in positions of leadership
or responsibility misbehaving sexually.
for providing this valuable web service.
Arnold PhD, RDPsych (Sask)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
Everybody at anglicansonline.org: What a great idea, to have
a letters section. You don't know how often I have wanted to
let you know how much I appreciate this site. You manage to hold
in beautiful balance all the tensions that make the Anglican
Communion the strange and wonderful thing it is. It is beneficial
to be able to tap into other parts of the Communion, to learn
about prevailing thoughts and issues in different parts of the
world as it relates to the Anglican Church.
in Canada, we struggle with the Residential Schools fallout and
the ongoing discussions about the blessing of same-sex unions.
As a relatively liberal Anglican, I support the reparations to
be made to the indigenous people for the humiliation and treatment
they suffered at the hands of some members of the church during
the residential school years, but I have problems with the church
taking the blame for the whole mess! I support same-sex blessings,
and wish more people would read the first letter of John Chapter
4... especially the last two verses!
you for your invaluable service to the church, and to the people
The Cathedral Church of St John, Diocese of Rupert's Land
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Church of South India: Can you help?
to you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We are one in Christ. We should make a new impact on our society
and the people around us. This is doubly important if you are
living among non-christians.
Diocese is engaged in many mission activities, one of which is
taking care of the girl children in
India. I want whoever reads this to join us in our mission
of taking care of girl children who are abandoned and are not
looked after. There are several girl children who are not sent
to school but sent to work and so on. Will you join us? Thanks.
Church of South India
Kottayam 686001, Kerala State, India
hope to develop, in the near future, a new section at AO where
notices and appeals for assistance such as this one can be posted
from around the Communion.
All of our letters
are in our archives;
here are links to the last few weeks, in case you missed them.
to AO' section began 18 May 2003.
May 2003, including 'The REALLY Big Clerical Directory', 'The ABC and his
non-fan mail', and 'Pay Per View'.